Repeal all draconian laws

Thursday, July 19, 2018

President Adama Barrow in his Farafenni meeting said he is determined to see all draconian laws embedded for decades in our constitution repealed. If the president really means what he says, then he’s counting his way to success.

For so long, the Gambian media ha been gripped with unfavourable media laws that militate against the prosperity of press freedom. Today, the media speaks in one voice and that is: ‘Repeal All Draconian Laws.’

Barrow challenged journalists to foster transparency in government by reporting on its activities as much as possible. However, as journalists, it our business to relay what the president meant by this statement. We must understand that writing about government’s activities does not only require about just writing for the sake of writing. It requires a writing that ensures transparency and accountability and that cannot be achieved when public officials are not obliged to share information with the media.

On State House official Facebook page, Barrow said the media has a high stake in the national development blueprint, pointing out that all draconian laws that affect press freedom will be repealed and replaced with more progressive ones which will encourage access and free flow of information in the country.

This is a welcome declaration and it came at a time when the media is in the wilderness. Laws like false information and defamation that are still taking a stake in our constitution are of great hindrance, and the pressmen and women would be more than glad to see them repealed.   

The president has affirmed that his government would adopt a different stance on press freedom, promising that the dark days of the media in Jammeh’s time are now over.

The media is always willing to welcome such developments as it is the fourth estate.We therefore hope that the if dreams come true, the media prosperity then trickles down on everyone of this country.

“Democracy must be built through open societies that share information. When there is information, there is enlightenment. When there is debate, there are solutions. When there is no sharing of power, no rule of law, no accountability, there is abuse, corruption, subjugation and indignation.”

Atifete Jahjaga